The secret to being a morning person is the opposite of what most people expect

People tend to categorize themselves into two factions: you are either a ‘morning person,’ or a ‘night owl.’ If you consider yourself to be a night owl, the ability to wake up early in the morning and be super productive seems like an impossibility, something that is completely out of reach, no matter how appealing it sounds. But what if we were to tell you that actually the secret to being a morning person is the opposite of what you would expect?

It starts in the evening

That’s right, being a morning person does NOT begin when you wake up in the morning – it’s all to do with how organized you are the night before. If when you wake up, you have to make breakfast, prepare lunch, decide what to wear for the day and get your bag, laptop and paperwork together, you’re not going to be leaving the house for a good while. If, however, you do all of that the night before, then all you need to do when you wake up in the morning is take a shower, put the clothes on you picked out the previous evening, grab your breakfast and lunch from the fridge and go. Et voilà, you’re ready to go and out of the house an hour earlier than you would be otherwise.

You need a good night’s sleep

It’s not exactly rocket science to realize that the ability to wake up easily in the morning is greatly improved if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. So, again, this starts the night before. Most night owls enjoy the downtime they get in the evening – whether that’s going out and socializing, watching a long movie or cooking an epic feast. In fact, they enjoy it so much, they spend a long time doing their preferred activity, meaning they aren’t ready or wanting to go to sleep until late at night. To be a morning person, you need to start the wind-down to go to bed much earlier than you usually would. You cannot both stay up late and wake up early long-term, as you will burn yourself out. You need to accept that in order to be a morning person, you need to sacrifice your late-night tendencies.

Make a plan

Being a morning person isn’t just about waking up early; it’s about being productive in the morning and using the extra time you have given yourself wisely. There’s no point in getting to work an hour earlier than normal and scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed for 45 minutes. This is something you can also do in the evening – make a plan. Why do you want to get up early the next morning? What motivates you? It may be that you want to go to the gym early to start your day energized, or it might be that you find yourself most creative first thing in the morning, so want to outline and write the first section of an article or proposal for work. Write a list of everything you want to get done in the morning after you’ve finished your dinner, but before you start your evening wind-down activity. This way, you will have a clear plan of action when you wake up in the morning so you can be productive with your time.

Even though the thought of changing your habits to become those of a morning person seems daunting, in reality all it takes are these simple steps. If you are organized in the evenings, then the mornings will become much easier. Most importantly of all, you need to want to be up and about early. If you have the motivation and the drive to do it, then you will. You just need to make it as easy for yourself as possible by removing morning friction, getting a good night’s sleep and having a plan in place.